a German or Czech pilsner exactly to spec would seem to be a fairly
easy thing to do, since these style are known for having no frills. Yet,
so few breweries do them well, so I’m impressed and pleased when I find
a very good example of either style. Saranac Autumn Pils is a
Czech-style pilsner that I think would hold its own quite well if judged
on style specifications.
I poured a 12oz bottle into my Saranac-emblazoned shaker glass. It has a
best before date of 1/31/15 and came as part of an autumn seasonal mix
pack for $14.99 ($1.25 per bottle or $0.10 per ounce).
Appearance: Bright golden hue over a clear body with consistent
carbonation visible. Pours to a two-finger, white, fluffy head which
retains and laces extremely well.
Smell: Light lemony notes on top of the usual all-malt pilsner aroma. Pleasant.
Taste: The beer claims to be a new spin on an Old World style, though
the modernity quality is subtle. The palette here is what you expect and
want out of a pilsner: light malt character with a mixture of spicy and
citrusy hops and a smooth, clean finish. The taste is a bit “softer”
than most pilsners, but does retain the familiar character. The Sterling
hops create for a slight lemon zest flavor while the Saaz hops account
for a minor spice and dry bitterness. There’s no adjuncts here, which is
nice, since there’s a general clean, unfettered quality to this
palette. Maybe a little bit more distinctiveness would be nice, but it’s
more than satisfying as it is.
Drinkability: I based this review on two back-to-back servings. The
first glass of Saranac Autumn Pils was so easily drinkable and
refreshing that I downed it quickly (which is odd since I wasn’t
especially thirsty at the time). This is definitely what a pilsner
should be as far as delivery: light, thin mouthfeel with strong, but
approachable, carbonation. It goes down smooth and leaves no aftertaste.
At 5.5% ABV it’s a tad heavy to truly session, but that second bottle
sat just as lightly as the first.